Paul Harris, Lecturer, Agricultural Engineering,
The University of Adelaide, Australia When new folks arrive at Windward, there's a natural, almost universal, urge to want to plunge in with a great swirl of energy and enthusiasm. That's great, but it's usually more disruptive than productive. Over time, we've developed a sustainable rhythm to life here, and while we need new infusions of energy, the challenge is to find ways to integrate that enthusiasm into what we're doing without crashing the program. In order to work over the long haul, this has to feel like a walk in the park, not like a grueling marathon. There are some people strong enough and motivated enough that they can run a mile long race, but most people who try that will cramp up and fall behind long before they see the finish line. Conversely, a couple of friends can stroll along enjoying the beautiful scenery and pleasant conversation, and almost before they realize it, they've gone the mile and then some. The twin constraints of time and money place lots of pressure on a community, and many groups set themselves up for failure by committing to situations in which they have to push too hard too soon. On the other hand, life is a timed event; if a group doesn't show progress then it's members will lose heart and drift away. The key is to focus carefully on the essentials and then back off a bit, which is where Harris' Law comes in.